Our Students' Perspective
- Great teachers who are actively involved in your education
- 200+ courses to choose from
- Interactive academic programs
- Communication and involvement with other students
- Positively redefining the term "homeschooling"
- Electives for every interest
- Positive and God-honoring environment
- Designed especially for families living abroad
FAQ/Q&A From a Student's Perspective
NSA is an online academy that redefines the typical definition of "homeschooling." A student enrolls in various classes each year and is met in each class with a teacher prepared to help you get started. NSA "bridges the gap" between traditional homeschooling and a brick and mortar school.
NSA has over 1600 students ranging from 4th-12th grade. Unless you're talking about assignment grades, then we've got all of them. My personal preference is A's, though. ;D
On NSA, you choose your pace! Each course has 18 weeks of course material per semester that you can distribute however best fits your family's lifestyle. There is a suggested amount of work each week as the courses are split into 18 weeks, so if you follow the weekly schedule in Buzz, you'll be good to go! But when life gets crazy, you can take a week off then make it up later in the semester. Just don't take off too many weeks, or you'll stress out your mom in the process. ;)
Yes! There are students who come and go from NSA, and there are students who stay their whole Middle School and High School years. It all depends on what you feel comfortable with. Many of my friends here at NSA mix and match their school systems, some of them go to public school part time, and some do traditional homeschool part time. But there's always the option to do full time NSA!
Buzz is a specialized program that allows students to interact with their courses in really cool ways! There are options to send in Word and Google documents, as well as multiple choice and written questions. And, when it comes to math, Buzz has a really cool option that allows for those special math symbols when writing equations. If you're feeling overwhelmed by that explanation, don't worry about it. =) There's a Buzz orientation that's required for all students at the beginning of the school year that will teach you about all the ins and outs of the program. Plus, if you have any unanswered questions, just shoot them over to FirstClass, and the students there will be happy to help!
Yes! As I said above, there's a fabulous Buzz orientation that allows new and returning students to learn the cool features that Buzz has to offer for our academic ease. We even have an NSA staff member whose job is to help new NSA students feel comfortable with the way Buzz works. And if you ever want to ask another student for help, don't hesitate to jump over to FirstClass and post your question in the "For NSA Newbies" forum on your desktop!
Yes. The NSA bookstore is located at MBSdirect.net and has the full selection of your required course materials. Some of the books are available in e-book form, but others are physical books.
No, thank goodness! NSA has an amazingly flexible school system that allows students to work when they need to instead of in set time periods. However, our teachers do have office hours when they're required to be online, so if you ever need to contact your teacher, those are the times that you'll most likely get a hold of him or her!
Great question! The main place that you can use to get involved with other students is FirstClass. Check out the Student Activities and Connect pages here on the NSA website to learn about all of the clubs, contests, and other ways students can get involved and connect!
The great thing about NSA is that just because it's an online school doesn't mean that we have to miss out on any of the perks of being at a real high school! The StuCo helps with that. They organize parties, dances, and contests. They help sort out conflicts (though those are super rare) and help keep the awesome spirit of NSA alive! The Student Council's goal is to "bridge the gap" between the student body and the staff members and between new and veteran students. The StuCo also organizes fundraisers and helps the office with awesome projects like building this very website! Overall, the StuCo is a super fun group to be part of.
Hah! Brilliant question. Well, the first thing that one has to familiarize themselves with is the concept of talking in asterisks (*). Asterisks are used all over FirstClass as a means of portraying body language and other things that would just be awkward to type any other way. Examples of this would be *sits down* or *waves goodbye*. Similarly, these asterisks can be used quite effectively to dance! *holds my hand out expectantly* *waits for someone to grab it so we can dance*
The second thing you've got to do is make sure you use emoticons. Emoticons here on NSA are a staple in communication. Without them, it's hard to interpret the essentials of teenage life such as sarcasm and jokes over the internet. We NSAers are quite good at coming up with emoticons, too, so if you have a new one for us, don't hesitate to introduce it! U_U
This FAQ/Q&A was brought to you from students Nastassia & Morgan, Student Council members
Here we tell how this school impacted our life, Even when it was fraught with strife. Peers and teachers helped save the day By pointing to Christ to show us the way.
Living in Central Asia, I don't have very many schooling options. I used to go to an international school, but when we moved, we didn't know what to do for schooling anymore. That led us to NorthStar Academy [NSA]. It provided the perfect schooling to get the proper education when there were no other options. In addition, NSA provided flexibility so I could be involved in my parents' ministry. There are not very many other teens here to befriend, but NSA has provided me an amazing opportunity to make friends from all over the world. I have met many of my closest friends through the social side of NSA, and I couldn't be more grateful. NSA uses a program called FirstClass for student [and teacher] interaction. There are Bible studies, dances, food fights, cafes, chats, and so much more. We have the ability to communicate and connect with peers in similar situations as us. Some students, after meeting through FirstClass, will connect through Skype, where they are able to video call. Many students have arranged to meet up with fellow NSAers in person. I have been able to meet one of my best friends and even one of my teachers! One of the many traditions during the meetings is called the elbow picture. The participants take a picture with their elbows touching in any creative way, then they post it on FirstClass to share with fellow students. NorthStar has been such a blessing as I have been able to get a proper education, have flexibility, and make amazing friends!
I started NSA for my senior year after doing homeschooling and other online schools for most of my education. It took me a while to feel comfortable talking to others, but eventually I met some amazing people who helped me navigate the school. Since then, I have absolutely loved NSA, and I wish I had joined sooner. Not only has it been great meeting people from all over the world, but God used it to help confirm what He wants me to study at college. All the courses I have taken here have been well done, and all the teachers really want what’s best for you. I highly recommend NSA to anybody interested in online school.
My experience on NSA these past three years has been wonderful. I really love and appreciate NorthStar’s family-like atmosphere! When I entered NSA in the fall of 2014, I was excited but a little nervous about starting a new school and making new friends. I’m very grateful to my fellow students, both graduated and current, for reaching out and helping me during my first year. They set an example for me to follow. In my second and third years at NSA I’ve been able to reach out and help new students in a manner similar to that which had been done for me. As I move into my fourth year at NSA, I hope to continue to reach out and help new students. Thank you so much, fellow NSAers, teachers, and staff for all your help and encouragement! :)
NSA has impacted me in more ways than I can count! I recently moved overseas, and I had to leave my best friends and all my hobbies behind me. It was a very difficult transition, and in the beginning I was trying to homeschool all on my own. Needless to say, this setup didn’t work out well. Then we found NSA, and since then I have made friends and joined in on the virtual adventures the students have together on FirstClass. NorthStar was exactly the thing we needed, and it has allowed my mom and I to work at the orphanage here in Macedonia every Monday! Without NorthStar, I might have ended up in a boarding school, unable to experience the great ministry our family is doing here, but now I can be a help to my mom and get my school done. It has been an enormous blessing to myself and my younger brother to meet other TCKs all around the globe and find out that we’re not the only ones struggling and going through hard times with an international move. All the students whom I have met have been helpful and friendly. I have made what I am sure are lifelong friendships in the short time I have been here (and received more nicknames than I can count!). All the teachers are helpful and quick to answer questions and assist you through struggles with your school work and to pray for you and your family. They’re encouraging and have helped me through my hardest subjects with kindness and understanding. NorthStar has been a huge blessing in my life, and I am eternally grateful that we found it!
Whether sailing the seas, getting trapped in a brick room that’s filling with water and sharks, or sharing a drawing, story, or experience with a friend, NSA has been a place that emits an uplifting, Godly, and imaginative air. Participating in this school has been one of the best experiences of my life and has left me with treasures outside of curricular knowledge. Spiritually, it’s strengthened me and increased my wisdom through Bible studies that were offered, weekly devotions in each class, and just by talking to other people on NSA. The atmosphere of NSA is full of care; all of the teachers reply promptly with words that build confidence and inspire communication and perseverance. The ability to chat with other students from around the world is priceless to me; some of my best friends live on the other side of the globe! Unlike some online schools, we can actually talk with each other and join “clubs” just as if we were at a physical school. We even have school dances, contests, newspapers, and a student council! There are so many things you can do here while still getting to stay home, and that’s why I love it. NSA is also very flexible. This past year there were many interruptions to my schedule, but because of my courses’ ability to adjust and the understanding nature of my teachers I am able to finish my work on schedule and also receive prayer from all around the globe as I struggle with change, work, or other things. That’s something I’d never be able to receive at a physical school or in plain homeschooling, and I’m extremely grateful for it. In the end, NSA has blessed me and taught me in so many ways, not just in school work but in everything. My view of the world has been broadened and I’ve been able to experience Christ with a new understanding. There have been times where I sat back overwhelmed with awe of God’s power and beauty, and I want others to be able to experience this. So, while NSA is a school, it’s not just a school. It’s an environment that’s built to make students thrive in their walk with the Lord and bring each student to success in all aspects of life.
NSA has been a huge blessing to me from the students to the activities. Because I live overseas, NSA has given me flexibility and allowed me to set my own pace. It’s hard to make friends where I live, but when it comes to FirstClass, everyone has been welcoming and friendly. I’ve made so many friends there, from my ‘bestie’ to every student I’ve talked to. I’ve been homeschooled my whole life: My mom taught me when I was younger, and I started another online school in sixth grade. After a year, we decided to look into other online schools to see what they offered. We fell on NSA one day, and it looked amazing. Once I had applied they introduced me to FirstClass, and it made my year. FirstClass is amazing! You can go there to meet other kids in similar situations or just to make new friends all around the world. From the contests to the dances, FirstClass has blessed my life like crazy. When it comes to the work on NSA, it’s interesting and easy, but also challenging. It really gets you to think about what you’re learning, but if you’re having trouble, the teachers are right there when you need them. Whenever I had trouble with a lesson, I would just email my teacher, and within a day I would get a reply. I’m so glad I’ve been able to enjoy NSA.
North Star Academy has been a huge part of the last 6 years of my life. We live overseas in a third world country. That means we travel a lot. It gets crazy sometimes, but with NSA I have been able to continue school on the go. We plan our school around our travels instead of vise versa. I have to admit that NSA is hard. You have to invest a lot of time and hard work to succeed. I have 2 older sisters who have graduated NSA, and they agree that this school has prepared them for college better than many of their classmates’ high schools. It’s hard, but when you finish a course you know the material. NSA prepares you for life.
I can sing the praises of NSA’s academic program all day, but it’s my own experience with the teachers and students that makes me love this school so much. We found out a few years ago that I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). That was hard for me at first. I wasn’t worried about what people thought of me or anything like that, but I was worried about how I was going to succeed academically. I was struggling with my classes. It was a hard time. I wasn’t trying anymore. I thought my teachers and classmates couldn’t help me because they lived on the other side of the world. I was so wrong. The faith that my teachers (and many other people) had in me made me get back to work. They were completely understanding and supportive. These teachers are some of the most God fearing and smartest people on earth. I can’t tell you how much their encouraging letters meant to me. And I’m not being sappy. I am completely serious when I say that I love every single one of these amazing people.
Now that is all well and good, but I can’t talk about NSA without mentioning my friends on First Class. I thought with an online school I would never get to know any other students, but now my best friends are the other students. The community on First Class (FC) is incredible. They have been the only constant English connection I have had for 2 years. I don’t want to sound weak, but I probably would have lost my mind without them. I never thought I would be able to take a girl to a dance… and then kill a dragon at said dance (he was hogging the fruit punch), and all that in the comfort of my own house. My friends on FC have been more than I could ever ask for. Those guys are iNSAne. I’m not sure if you noticed yet, but I love NSA. Those people have done so much for me, and I am very grateful. I can now go into college without fear. I know that this school has prepared me.